Decades-Old Star Wars Mystery Finally Solved

One of the longest-running ‘Star Wars’ mysteries has finally been solved by a doggedly determined fan.

Despite being one of the most overanalysed movies of the 20th century, fans have long wondered who played BoShek the cantina patron who sends Obi-Wan and Luke in the direction of Han Solo when they arrive in Mos Eisley looking for a passage to Alderaan.

The character with the sideburns and distinctive flight suit had his own action figure, but no-one at LucasFilm archives has ever been able to confirm the identity of the actor who played him, as his name doesn’t appear in the film’s closing credits.

New York blogger Billy Jensen made it his mission in life to get to the bottom of the story - read his full blog post here - and it seems like he’s finally cracked the near 40-year-old mystery.

Billy’s search began with contacting Tom Spina, a man with history of tracking down long lost ‘Star Wars’ actors, and Pablo Hidalgo, a LucasFilm exec and “canon” expert.

Neither man knew who played BoShek, but they were unable to unearth a second credit for the mystery actor who seems to have appeared in a 1979 episode of ‘The New Avengers’. That line of investigation proved to be a dead end though, so the blogger started posted “Wanted” style requests for information on ‘Star Wars’ message boards.

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Out of the blue he received an email from a Barry Gregory who claimed that the actor was in fact his grandfather, who was sadly deceased. The family said they always knew he’d played the part of the mystery space pirate and were hoping to get his name restored in the credits so he could finally earn some recognition for the part he played in one of the biggest movies of all time.

For proof, Billy spoke with Barry’s mother Sylvia who confirmed the identity of the actor and supplied visual proof in the form of a photo.

“My Dad Mr Frances, Alfred, Basil Tomlin played the part of Boshek. Everyone new my Dad as Tom. Unfortunately my Dad passed away over 11 years ago now but it would be nice if we could get his name reconised [sic] as his claim to fame was his part as Boshek and a storm trooper in the first Star Wars film.”

So there you have it. The character BoShek was played by Frances Alfred Basil Tomlin, known to his friends as Tom.

Now, if they could only finally work out who played the walrus-faced Pondo Baba, we could all sleep soundly at night.

Image credits: 20th Century Fox/